Nigeria-Denmark partner on insecurity, corruption in the maritime sector
Abuja, June 6, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has disclosed the readiness of Denmark to collaborate with Nigeria in stemming the tide of insecurity and corruption in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly, Nigeria.
Onyeama made the disclosure after a closed-door meeting with the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of Danish Shipping, Anne Steffensen, on the sideline of the African-Nordic Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Recall that Denmark is the sixth largest shipping nation in the world, having moved from eight to sixth position in 2017.
The Danish Shipping, is part of a strong maritime cluster in Denmark, with most major ship owners actively involved in the Nigerian market.
The issue of double taxation and ways of increasing trade between the two countries also took center stage during the meeting.
Onyeama said the meeting was necessitated due to some outstanding issues with Denmark, especially in the area of maritime.
He noted that Denmark is one of the big maritime countries, saying that Nigeria, in particular, is a big destination for Denmark shippers.
Onyeama added that the meeting was centred on security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea and efforts to combat it, including the issue of corruption in the maritime sector.
According to Onyeama, “There are some outstanding things with Denmark at the moment, especially in the maritime area.
“Denmark is one of the big maritime countries and Nigeria is a big destination for their shippers and we are looking at the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea area and what we are all doing and the kinds of security that they are looking for and also, the corruption issues that are involved in the maritime sector and shipping.”
Onyeama further said that Danish Shipping appreciated very much, the improvements that they have seen in the area of security and the cooperation of the government, and also in the area of corruption in the shipping sector.
Onyeama added, “In particular, Mr President has established the Enabling Business Environment Council and the executive orders that emanated from that.
“And of course, the issue of double taxation was also raised and we want to see an increase in trade between the two countries. That is something that is ongoing at the moment and we hope to have in place, an agreement on that.”
Onyeama further said that the possibility of technical assistance in the maritime sector was also discussed during the meeting.
Other issues raised during the meeting include the wishes of the Nigerian government and areas the government needed some support such as training, surveillance equipment and the likes, and the possibility of accessing the industrial training fund that is operational in Denmark.
In her remarks, Steffensen said Danish Shipping is very happy to heavily engage Nigeria in the area of shipping.
Steffensen said Danish Shipping has facilitated trade in and out of Nigeria, saying that the visit of the Minister was fantastic.
She added that Danish Shipping is looking forward to cooperate even more with Nigeria.
Steffensen said, “Going forward, we have had a lot of business there for many years and we have also had some challenges which we have touched upon, but we can see that the Nigerian government is doing a lot to combat, for example, corruption; doing a lot to build new infrastructure, doing a lot to make sure maritime security is very high on the agenda and we can see a lot of progress.
“So, for us in Danish Shipping, being so actively engaged in Nigeria and in the Gulf of Guinea, is so important for us to have this style also because we can see that the government is heavily engaged, there is a political will and there is a lot of progress and the positive result.”
Steffensen called on key actors in the Nigerian maritime sector to keep going and do more shipping with Danish companies and cooperate internally and externally in terms of increasing maritime security and anti-corruption.
She also called on Nigerian maritime players to work closely with sister countries in the Gulf of Guinea to eradicate the problems associated with the maritime sector.